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Puerto Rico's Medalla seeks to revamp marketing image
Impact International / July 15, 1996

By Larry Luxner

SAN JUAN -- Puerto Rico's locally brewed Medalla beer -- which is struggling to retain market share in the face of serious inroads by Budweiser and other imports -- is fighting back with an ad campaign of its own.

Bacardi-Martini Caribbean Corp., Medalla's distributor, announced May 20 it would spend more than $6 million into advertising, promotional and marketing efforts for the venerable brand. The new campaign revolves around the slogan "una te lleva a la otra" (one leads to another), according to Bacardi-Martini's general manager, Angel Torres.

The new slogan will be featured in three new TV commercials, a radio spot and 175 billboards throughout the island of 3.7 million, which boasts the highest per-capita beer consumption in the Caribbean.

"Ever since the Medalla brand was introduced in 1978, it kept the same presenta-tion. However, internal studies we conducted indicate to us that Medalla could strengthen its position by redesigning its look," Torres told the San Juan Star. "Medalla continues to be the same great light, full-bodied beer. The only thing that has changed [is] adapting the label and packaging to project the dynamism, strength and quality the product represents."

According to the newspaper, the new label retains several elements associated with the outgoing design, such as the Medalla seal and the use of yellow and black lettering. But it also repositions a larger Medalla brand name diagonally across the label and incorporates more exciting graphics. Torres also said packaging for the Medalla Ultra brand will be changed later this year.

Medalla, Puerto Rico's only locally brewed beer (the only other one, Corona, went bankrupt in 1986), has an estimated 12-15% of the island's beer market, trailing both Budweiser (43%) and Coors (22%). Medalla is sold individually as well as in six-packs of 7-oz. and 12-oz. bottles, and 10-oz. cans. Eventually, new 12-can and 24--can cases will be added to the product lineup.

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